When Prof Jane Kirtley came through KL earlier this month, she was careful to point out that her remarks on press freedom and freedom of speech were based on the US experience, and US constitutional guarantees of civil liberties.
As somewhat of an antidote, here is the AIBD Media Law Handbook, published last year by the Asia-Pacific Institute of Broadcasting Development (AIBD) based at Angkasapuri, Kuala Lumpur, with the support of Freidrich Ebert Stiftung. It was written by UK-based media lawyer Dr Venkat Iyer with Asians very much in mind. In his introduction he says:
Dr Iyer also takes pains to point out, as did Prof Kirtley earlier, that the complexity of different legal systems throughout the region makes it difficult to generalise and derive universally-acceptable principles.
Nevertheless, every working journalists needs to be clear about what the law provides (or more importantly for our region, what the laws do not provide — the clearcut freedoms enunciated in the US First Amendment).
Thanks to Pauline Leong of UTAR for the link.